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No. 18 Virginia women’s soccer frustrated in 0–0 draw against Iowa

The Cavaliers end the homestand with few shots on goal despite commanding possession

<p>Virginia struggled to convert offensive opportunities Thursday evening.</p>

Virginia struggled to convert offensive opportunities Thursday evening.

No. 18 Virginia women’s soccer created few quality goal opportunities in a 0-0 draw Thursday night at home against Iowa. The Cavaliers (4-0-2, 0-0-0 ACC) dominated the Hawkeyes (6-0-1, 0-0-0 BT) in possession in the second half, forcing the ball deep into Iowa’s half. Graduate student defender Lacey McCormack orchestrated tempo at center back, along with senior defender Samar Guidry at left back. 

After Iowa controlled possession in the first five minutes, Virginia’s midfield sparked some offense. In the 12th minute, sophomore midfielder Jill Flammia shimmied around three Hawkeyes and then found a cross to Guidry. In the 14th minute, freshman midfielder Yuna McCormack and sophomore forward Maggie Cagle worked in give-and-go fashion to get the ball deep in Iowa’s left corner.

However, these Cavalier attacks resulted in few quality looks. Outside of a Yuna McCormack shot in the 21st minute, Virginia’s offense largely failed to get the ball in Iowa’s box.

The Cavaliers won two free kicks — Cagle and senior midfielder Alexis Theoret worked a set piece to get the ball in the Iowa box, which was quickly cleared. Cagle’s free kick from just right of the box resulted in a low line drive, which no Cavalier could control for a shot. 

Virginia’s best opportunity of the first half came unexpectedly. Just inside Iowa’s half in the 39th minute, Guidry struck a long cross into the center of the Hawkeyes box. Sophomore forward Maya Carter made a run — just her and Iowa’s senior goalkeeper Macy Enneking going after the ball — and headed a shot just high of goal. 

The first half ended with a hurried Iowa corner kick that was bounced out of the Virginia box. The teams walked off the field with Iowa leading in shots 4–2 and shots on goal 1–0. 

The sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Klöckner Stadium disappeared into the night as the second half started. Virginia found their first shot on goal from freshman forward Allie Ross in the 53rd minute, who drove up the right side of the box and fired a shot into the hands of Enneking. 

The most important result of the second half was an apparent Flammia injury. In the 62nd minute, she was slow to get up after a foul, limping off from the spot of the collision. A few seconds later, she dribbled her way deep into Hawkeye territory and made a quality cross. However, in the 64th minute, the pain appeared too much as she slowly made her way off for a substitution. 

Almost all of the rest of the game was played in Iowa’s half. This included a 72nd-minute shot from senior forward Sarah Brunner that was wide left and a 77nd-minute deflected cross from sophomore forward Merideth McDermott. Virginia did not find another shot on goal in the remaining minutes.

Virginia ended the game with 13 shots and two shots on goal, reminiscent of their 0–0 draw against Michigan earlier this year. The match against the Wolverines (3-1-2, 0-0 Big 10), which was another Big 10 matchup played in Charlottesville, included 15 shots but only two shots on goal from the Cavaliers. Possession and opportunity are not enough, as Virginia will need to find ways to finish in order to take down competitive Power Five squads moving forward. 

While the offensive production that has come this season has been largely spread around, the Cavaliers are waiting for their next Haley Hopkins or Diana Ordoñez to emerge. Hopkins graduated after tallying 14 goals last season, demonstrating a knack for finding the back of the net in tight matchups. So far, McDermott and Cagle lead Virginia with five goals on the season, followed by Ross with four. It will fall upon them to pick up the pace in comparable matchups looking ahead.

The Cavaliers hope to back up their No. 18 ranking in a contest against Louisville Sept. 16, which will also open up Atlantic Coast Conference play. 

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